Women's suffrage

Women from the Washington Equal Suffrage Association posting signs. Washington State Archives' Digital ArchivesGeneral Subjects Photograph Collection, 1845-2005. 1910.


In 1910 Washington became the fifth state in the nation in which women gained the right to vote and hold public office. For a brief period in the 19th century, in fact, women had the right to vote in Washington Territory.


Start with secondary sources 

Use secondary sources to gain basic knowledge of your topic, its significance, and historical context.

Ask a Librarian online at Washington State Library to get expert help in locating useful secondary sources. 


Then use primary sources

Use primary sources to deepen your understanding of the topic, and assemble evidence to support your own analysis and interpretation.

Ask an Archivist online at Washington State Archives to get expert help in locating useful primary sources.


Some key historical research questions:

  • How did the Women’s Suffrage movement convince men to support granting women these rights?
  • How and why were women’s voting rights granted and then taken away in Washington Territory? What other movement was linked to women’s suffrage?
  • How did this other movement affect the passage of women’s suffrage in Washington?
  • Why were Washington and other western states among the first in the nation to grant women the right to vote?
  • How can the experiences of individuals and organizations be used to tell the story of women’s suffrage in the Pacific Northwest?
  • How can the experiences of Women’s Suffrage activists in the Pacific Northwest be used to interpret the larger story of Women’s Suffrage in the United States and the world?
  • Have women voters changed politics in the United States? If so, how? If not, why?
  • Consider other possibilities for historical questions as you analyze and interpret this topic.


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